New Year means new beginnings and new beginnings could mean different things to different people. For a traveler like me, it definitely means more traveling and discovering new places. Here’s the first one.
(Text and Pictures: Rohit Joshi)
First sunrise of 2017 at Ananthagiri Hills
See I was told not to compare hills. All hills are hills and once you climb or cross them you generally feel that you have reached somewhere or achieved something. Now these profound words came out of the mouth of my Dearest Wife who was trying to ensure that I did not miss the high Himalayas (my true home) when I walked the Ananthagiri Hills. Let me be honest and say that for a while I was little disappointed as there was no way that I was going to be seeing the High Ones or the temperature drop or the Mighty Ganges, ah! how much I miss thee!
The journey from Hyderabad to Ananthagiri Hills in Vikarabad (around 2 hours) is a short one but one of such pleasant change from a city to town to village and finally to wilderness. Where the outside and inside say just one thing – be yourself, relax, recharge! On a New Year’s Day, it is like getting rid of all the baggage which has been thrust upon one in the past year. Truly something which is much needed by city folks.
ExploreOut a team of young chirpy professional outdoor enthusiasts had a group going out which I joined. Convenient pickup points and a full bus to ourselves made the journey fun. Hamlets on the way were just so relaxing to look at, almost making one feel as being a part of the slow life once again. Delicious looking fruits and vegetables, tempting chat stalls and lots of sun and cool breeze were the best companions for all on the way.
Vikarabad being the last habitation with shops we soon reached the farm which was to be the night stop. Grilled food in the fields of cotton plants, corn and flowers we celebrated New Years Eve with music and dance. After the cake cutting and some facials we were on our way for the night trek. For about 2 hours some of the more adventurous among us with torch lights found a way in the terrain and came to a dry stream under a star lit sky. It was nice to be just walking and not seeing anything other than where to put your foot next in the pleasant weather. Soon we slept and sooner we were woken up for the Ananthagiri trek. I found it to be an easy trek and one ideal for kids to be introduced to this love of the outdoors. Passing some slippery slopes, seeing some picture perfect foothills and valleys we found ourselves near the Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple – a Seshasayee form of Vishnu in other words Vishnu resting on Seshanaga who balances earth on one of his heads.
Nice way to start the year if you ask me, just being in the presence of the God idol in the temple makes me peaceful and ever grateful, that’s my prayer. Post breakfast back at the farms we left for the Nagasamudram lake and it was kayak time. Clear waters of the lake and the gentle breeze made it such a natural habitat for birds. We saw some black ducks, swans, storks and others which only real bird watchers could name. Now those who know me would know that nothing can stop me from a swim as long as there is enough water. Change of clothes and I was once again a water baby. Even the scorching afternoon sun could not get in the way of the 2 hour swim which obviously was the best way to relax for me after the trek and kayak.
Lunch was just by the way and soon we were on our way back. To me, this was one of those easy getaways on which you find yourself and while returning are more wholesome. A great way to start not only the year but anything else that one craves for. I will always remember this trip for the people that I met (made some great friends), stars that I saw and the warmth that kept everyone together for the 2 days.
Things to do:
- Trek in the Ananthagiri Hills
- Kayak and swim (at your own risk) in Nagasamudram lake
- Visit Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple
Places to stay:
- Hotels and resorts
- Camping is an option too if you are the adventurous types
Definitely, a thumbs up from our side as its one of the best places to introduce your young one to trekking and camping.